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U.S. Army history from the year you were born

  • 1930: Douglas MacArthur is appointed Army chief of staff

    Army strength: 139,378 people (0.11% of U.S. population)

    Gen. Douglas MacArthur was superintendent at West Point before being appointed Army chief of staff with the rank of general by President Herbert Hoover. In his new position, MacArthur caused an uproar in 1932 when he authorized excessive force to remove the Bonus Army—unemployed, protesting World War I veterans—from Washington D.C.

  • 1931: U.S. Army wins International Military Team Trophy

    Army strength: 140,516 people (0.11% of U.S. population)

    In a show of Calvary skills, the U.S. Army used a myriad of horse skills to win the 1931 International Military Team Trophy at Madison Square Garden. France lost and supporters were visibly upset, as reported by the New York Times.

  • 1932: Calvary soldiers attack veterans

    Army strength: 134,957 people (0.11% of U.S. population)

    Twenty thousand veterans from World War I were forced out of Washington D.C. when Calvary soldiers rode into the crowd, sabering the veterans and lobbing tear gas. The veterans were unemployed, and protesting the bonus certificates they were awarded that could not be used until 1945. MacArthur spearheaded the charge, publicly leading the soldiers to the Hoovervilles to disperse the veterans by force.

  • 1933: U.S. Army Aids Civilian Conservation Corps

    Army strength: 136,547 people (0.11% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. Army transported 25,000 Civilian Conservation Corps recruits to conditioning camps in 1933. The CCC was formed to get young men to work, due to the Great Depression's impact on jobs. The work of the Army's involvement in the CCC aided in training mobilization units for World War II.

  • 1934: Army takes over the mail

    Army strength: 138,464 people (0.11% of U.S. population)

    President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 halted all service of the Post Office amidst allegations of U.S. Air Mail contract scandals. The U.S. Army Air Corps was ordered in February 1934 to take over air mail transportation, to disastrous results. Intense winter weather contributed to multiple crashes and the deaths of 12 pilots. The public outcry was so severe that full airline service was restored by June of that year, and Congress passed the Air Mail Act. 

  • 1935: The final flight of U.S. Army Air Corps LTA operations

    Army strength: 139,486 people (0.11% of U.S. population)

    Before the dissolution of the U.S. Army Air Corps “lighter-than-air” (LTA) operations, the branch created a final and fluid airship that was also the largest ever flown. The TC-14 flew for two hours and was clocked at a top speed of 90 mph. The airship took more than three years to build, largely due to a very small budget dispensed during the Great Depression.

  • 1936: M1 Garand becomes go-to Army rifle

    Army strength: 167,816 people (0.13% of U.S. population)

    The M1 Garand was adopted as the Army's go-to rifle. The new rifle was created with the height of modernized small arms technology. The rifle was strong and light, weighing only 9 pounds; it was the perfect weapon for the new Army's needs. This semi-automatic weapon would go on to be the primary choice of arms for World War II.

  • 1937: Army's Airship Program ends

    Army strength: 179,968 people (0.14% of U.S. population)

    The army's Airship Program was terminated and the balloons sold off in 1937. Airships were used all through the 1930s, and in World War I to spy and acquire information.

  • 1938: 15th Regiment returns home from China

    Army strength: 185,488 people (0.14% of U.S. population)

    After decades of service in China, the 15th Regiment arrived back on U.S. soil March 24, 1938. The soldiers spent their time escorting Chinese supply boats upriver and tracking down headhunters. The homecoming was similar in style to those in World War I as the USAT Grant came ashore with 808 enlisted men and officers, and 417 wives and children.

  • 1939 U.S. Army (and its Calvary) ranks 39th in the world

    Army strength: 189,839 people (0.15% of U.S. population

    The Army still used Calvary and had horses to pull artillery, and ranked 39th in the world for military strength. That low ranking didn't bode well for the ongoing war in Europe. The Calvary was 50,000 strong in 1939 and the nation was not ready for a war.

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